A guide for inpatients

Image of nurse in corridor

Before you arrive

If you are coming in for a planned stay or procedure, we will write to you with details of your admission. This letter will also contain any important information about what may be required ahead of your admission.

On the date of admission please call to ensure that we have a bed available on the number provided on your appointment letter.

What to bring


Inpatients are patients who stay at the hospital for one or more nights, whether for surgery, ongoing treatment or following an emergency admission.

What to do before you arrive at the hospital

If you are coming in for a planned stay or procedure, we will write to you with details of your admission. This letter will also contain any important information about what may be required ahead of your admission.

On the date of admission please call to ensure that we have a bed available on the number provided on your appointment letter.

What to do when you arrive

Our wards are signposted from the map located near M&S on the front hall. Our reception team will also be happy to direct you. 

When you arrive on the ward one of the receptionists or nurses will admit you to the ward.

What to bring with you

  • Personal toiletries
  • Day clothes
  • Nightdress or pyjamas
  • Dressing gown
  • A pair of slippers
  • Any equipment that you use, such as a walking aid/hearing aid
  • Books/magazines etc
  • Any medicines that you are taking and any special cards giving details of current treatment.
  • Your diary in case you need to rearrange follow up appointments

There is only a small locker space for personal property, so please bear this in mind when packing. Please try to mark all your belongings do not bring any valuables or large sums of money with you.

You are responsible for all of your property, including dentures and hearing aids, during your stay with us. 

The hospital cannot accept liability for any loss or damage to property.

Your stay with us

Your accommodation

You will normally stay on a ward that specialises in the care of the condition or illness you have. These wards are made up of separate bays with six people in them. We are committed to ensuring the privacy and dignity of all our patients when in our care so we will ensure that everyone in your bay is the same sex as you. We have a limited number of side rooms on each ward that accommodate one person only. These rooms can be used for a number of reasons, for example to prevent infection spreading.

There are a few places in the hospital where your care may be delivered in an environment that has mixed sex accommodation, such as intensive care or the coronary care unit. In these areas staff will do everything possible to ensure your privacy and dignity are respected and you will be moved to single sex accommodation as soon as it is safe for you to do so.

All wards have female, male and accessible toilet and bathroom facilities. If you need to go for a test or treatment in another part of the hospital, we will make sure that you are appropriately dressed and that your privacy and dignity are maintained at all times.

Sometimes it is necessary to change the ward that you are on. This could be because your care needs have changed or because there is a more appropriate ward for us to continue caring for you on. If this happens the staff looking after you will explain any changes, what to expect and how you and when you will be moved.

Your identity bracelet

We will give you a hospital identity bracelet with your name on it. If you have an allergy we will also give you a red band to wear. These are for your safety, so please be sure to wear them at all times.

Storing your personal belongings

You’ll find a cupboard beside your bed where you can store your personal belongings.

We do however, recommend that you leave any valuables at home. The bedside cupboards don't have locks on them so if you have brought valuables with you, please ask a friend or relative to take them home for you if possible.

Your medicines

Please give any medicines that you have brought with you to your nurse who will tell you where and how they will be stored.

If you need to change wards we’ll move your medicines with you. If you would like to continue to administer your own medicines while you are in hospital, please discuss this with your nurse.

It’s really important that you tell your doctor and the ward pharmacist about any medicines that you are taking, including over-the-counter medicines. We also need to know about any herbal or alternative remedies that you are taking.

Please let us know if you are allergic to any medications.

The team looking after you

The team looking after you

During your stay with us you will be cared for by a range of experienced healthcare professionals and other staff. They all wear name badges and will introduce themselves to you.

Your care is managed by a team from a number of different disciplines who work together to ensure that all aspects of your care are considered. They will discuss your treatment with you in clear language and involve you in decisions about your care. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a member of the nursing team or one of the doctors during ward rounds.

Many of our staff work in shifts, so they take great care in handing over details about your care and progress to the person taking over from them.

A guide to our uniforms


Female: Navy blue tunic and navy trousers or navy blue dress.

Male: Navy blue tunic and navy trousers.


Senior Sister

Royal blue tunic and navy trousers or dress, navy blue belt.


Senior Charge Nurse

White tunic with navy epaulettes. Grey trousers.


Junior Sister

Royal blue tunic and trousers or royal blue dress. Red belt.


Junior Charge Nurse

White tunic with red epaulettes. Grey trousers.


Staff Nurse

Female: Pale blue tunic and navy trousers or pale blue dress. Blue belt.

Male: White tunic with pale blue epaulettes. Grey trousers.


Health Care Assistant

Female: Grey tunic with navy trousers. Grey dress.

Male: Grey trousers with grey tunics.


Clinical Nurse Specialists / Research nurses when clinically working

Lilac tunic. Black trousers.



Female: Lilac and white striped dresses or tunics with dark coloured trousers

Male: White tunics with the Housekeeping logo written just above their left chest.

Help us to keep you safe

Thoroughly washing your hands is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection. You can help by:

  • Cleaning your hands before meals. If you are not near a basin, please use the hand rub at your bedside.

  • Washing your hands with soap and water after using the toilet.

  • Encouraging your visitors to clean their hands when they enter and leave the ward, and also by asking them not to visit you if they are ill.

All staff should clean their hands before any contact with you by either washing with soap and water or using the alcohol rub at your bedside.

If you are worried that a member of staff has not cleaned their hands, you have the right to ask them to do so. If you find this difficult, please talk to the ward sister.

Preventing the spread of infection

We will always do our very best to prevent the spread of infection within the hospital to protect our patients and staff.

Below are details of some of the more common infections, that we work hard to avoid:


Noroviruses are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis (upset tummy/stomach bugs) in England and Wales. Norovirus may also be referred to as ‘winter vomiting viruses’, ‘small round structured viruses’, ‘Norwalk-like viruses’ or gastric flu.

Who is at risk of getting norovirus?

There is no one specific group of people who are at risk of contracting norovirus – it affects people of all ages. The very young and elderly should take extra care if infected, as dehydration is more common in these age groups.

How does norovirus spread?

Norovirus spreads very easily from one person to another by:

  • Hands that are not washed after using the toilet
  • Touching a surface that has the virus on it
  • Food – such as salad or shellfish
  • Contact with an infected person

Please ask a nurse for our patient information leaflet if you need more detail about infection control.

Your family and friends

We welcome and encourage your family and close friends to visit you during your stay with us. We display the visiting hours for each ward at its entrance, but please ask a member of staff if you are unsure. Children and babies can visit patients on many of our wards, but please ask a member of staff first.

To help us ensure that you get the rest you need and to minimise the noise and disruption on our wards to a minimum, we ask that no more than two visitors come to see you at a time, wherever possible.

We understand that your family, carers and friends may want to call the ward to find out how you are. If possible, please ask one person to call us and then keep everyone else informed. There are contact cards with the ward details available at the nurses station with the wards contact details. To protect your confidentiality, we can only give limited information over the telephone. You can also receive letters from family and friends while you are in hospital. They should address the letter or card to you, care of the ward you are staying on.

To: name of patient

Care of: name of ward

Giving consent

You may be having an operation or treatment or investigation that requires you to sign a consent form.

Before signing, the doctor will explain what is going to happen.

Remember to ask questions if you are not sure or do not understand.

Leaving hospital

Ahead of your discharge

We will work with you to plan your discharge soon after your admission. We will ask you about your home environment and any care or support you currently receive.

If additional care is needed this will be arranged with your input.

We will give you an Estimated Discharge Date (EDD) as soon as possible.

You will only be discharged when you are medically well enough to leave hospital and it is safe for you to do so. This may mean that your Estimated Discharge Date is revised during your stay.

On the day of discharge

On the day you leave, your ward team will make sure you are given the relevant information and any equipment you require.

Your doctors will write a Discharge Summary for you and your GP. This gives details about the reason for your hospital stay, the treatment you received and any changes to your ongoing care or prescription.

Your doctors will also write your prescription (if needed) and send it to the pharmacy to be prepared.

We aim to transfer you to the Patient Lounge on the morning of your discharge, unless it is unsafe to do so.

This is a safe place where you can wait until your Discharge Summary and prescriptions are ready. Sometimes there may be some delays, but we will work very hard to keep these to a minimum.

In the Patient Lounge, you will be cared for by qualified nurses and you will have access to refreshments, TV and radio.

Royal Surrey Charity